In a jolt to the BSP on Wednesday, four of the 10 MLAs who had proposed the name of the party’s lone candidate in next month’s Rajya Sabha polls withdrew support amid hints that they may switch sides.
The four MLAs were reportedly accompanied by two others when they met the Returning Officer, submitting in writing that their signatures on senior party leader Ramji Gautam’s nomination papers were “forged”.
One of the rebels admitted that she met Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav, while some others in the group of six a third of BSP’s total strength in the assembly — expressed dissatisfaction over the way their own party treated them.
They, however, did not specifically target Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati. Without taking names, a BSP leader indirectly laid the blame for the dramatic development on the SP, with which Mayawati’s party was in alliance during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The RO is yet to take a decision but if the forgery claim by four of Gautam’s 10 proposers is accepted, it could lead to his disqualification. The BSP had on Monday fielded Gautam, its national coordinator and Bihar in-charge for the November 9 biennial elections for the 10 Uttar Pradesh seats that are falling vacant in the Rajya Sabha.
The BSP doesn’t have the numbers in the assembly to win an RS seat on its own but party leaders had indicated that it may get the support of other non-BJP parties in the state. The four MLAs who submitted an affidavit saying their signatures were forged are Aslam Raini, Aslam Chaudhary, Mujtaba Siddiqui and Hakim Lal Bind.
Along with them, two others, Hargovind Bhargava and Sushma Patel, also met the Returning Officer, Raini told reporters. The scrutiny of nominations is being undertaken Wednesday, according to the election schedule.
Raini and Mujtaba Siddiqui told reporters that they were unhappy with the “interference” of BSP coordinators.
“There is no respect in the party for us. I complained about a personal problem recently to our leader Lalji Verma, but to no avail,” Allahabad MLA Siddiqui said, while making clear that he had no complaints against Mayawati.
Mujtaba said he has been with the party for 25 years and is a three-term MLA.
Shravasti MLA Aslam Raini said when he recently contracted coronavirus and posted a video clip from the hospital, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath came to his help and this was disliked by his own party men.
“I was in hospital and the BSP coordinators were moving about in my constituency telling people not to meet their MLA,” he claimed.